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tv   Nightline  ABC  April 16, 2010 11:35pm-12:04am EDT

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. tonight on "nightline," no-fly zone. almost every flight in western europe and across the atlantic is grounded tonight as the gigantic cloud of smoke and ash spreads. so just how long could this crisis last? plus, potty mouth. sarah silverman reveals the troubled past that has led to her life as a comedian who will stop at nothing for a laugh. is there anything she won't joke about? plus, reality bites. a journey to shark island in search of the elusive reef where sharks congregate by the thousand. would you go swimming in a place thousand. would you go swimming in a place like this? captions paid for by abc, inc.
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good evening. for a second full day, the thick ash that's erupted from a volcano in iceland crippled the entire aviation system for most of europe. the air traffic agency says 17,000 flights or two-thirds of all european daily flights were canceled today. more than half of transatlantic flights were canceled. the cost of the airlines, over $200 million a day, by some estimates. neal karlinsky is in iceland tonight and has the latest on another frustrating day for hundreds of thousands of would-be travelers. >> reporter: hard to believe a volcano most people can't pronounce and never hird heard of could wreak so much havoc. it's called eyjafjallojokull, which means island glacier. now being superheated by the
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eruption that is raining down ice cubes the size of soccer balls while sending ash to the east and a part of iceland we were able to visit briefly, even though it's been largely closed off. what's causing so many problems up in the air, this is the closest thing you can get to it down on the ground, gusting winds, fine ash, it's making life miserable and very, very difficult to be in without a mask and goggles and even with a mask and goggles, the particles find their way through. they cut right through. in one of iceland' largest farms, they're battening down the hatches, taping windows, foaming crash, all they can to seep ash from seeping in, hurting livestock. show me. >> we just are filling the holes in the stable to prevent the ash from getting in. >> reporter: you're not taking any chances. >> we've been here, four people all day, just try to fill up the cracks. >> reporter: it's what all that
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ash is doing in the air that's even more problematic. >> we're talking about little tiny bits of fragmented magma smaller than two millimeters. like a sandstorm in the upper atmosphere because of what the volcanic explosions have put up. >> reporter: planes still cannot safely fly through, which means day two of travel mayhem. airports across europe are a mess with two-thirds of flights canceled. in frankfurt, stranded passengers sleep on cots. in dublin, they pass the time playing cards. in manchester, the empty terminal, a sign that everyone had just given up on getting out. frustrated travelers are running out of patience and out of cash. >> we haven't budgeted for what, so far, has racked up to be nearly 2.5 thousand pound for us to try to get home. obviously, sort of -- put ourselves up in hotels and everything else.
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we haven't got any money left. >> reporter: sally woke up this morning hopeful she would be able to make her flight from london to washington, d.c. >> i was -- in the hope i would be jumping on the plane today. i don't think there's any point keeping it packed. >> reporter: the cookbook author is supposed to be at the white house tomorrow to meet first lady michelle obama who's a fan of her heart healthy recipes. >> i've written this book and it's being seen by people at the white house and i've been invited to celebrate it with them there so i'm absolutely gutted. >> reporter: this person is trying to get to the other side of the pond. she and her family came to new york. what was supposed to be a quick trip. now they may not be able to get back to the uk until wednesday. >> i'm just quite scared actually because we're in a country that we don't know. we don't know the system. we don't know our way around. my son has to get back to
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school. >> reporter: for janice, it's even more pressing. she's supposed to be the maid of honor in her best friend's wedding this weekend. >> this is the dress that everyone was afraid i was going to forget. >> reporter: so you're supposed to be wearing that when, sunday? >> sunday afternoon. >> reporter: as she told abc's nick watt, she booked herself on three flights tomorrow, hopeful that the winds will blow in her favor. >> come on, if anyone ever told me that a volcano in iceland was going to affect my life in any way, shape or form, i would never have listened. >> reporter: eric's phones were lighting up with similar tales of wedding woes. >> when they do call, they're panicking. >> reporter: he manages a private jet company and he has been overwhelmed with calls from people from around the world desperate to get to their destinations. proving if you have enough cash, you can move mountains -- sort of. >> we could get them as close to a neighboring country and then we can provide other services via helicopter.
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we do what we can. >> reporter: those with more modest means mobbed train stations. >> today, i go back to paris. paris, take a train tomorrow morning to germany. take another train from germany to copenhagen, then take the bus back to stockholm. basically, i would arrive on sunday morning. >> reporter: exhausting but probably smart since most european flights will stay grounded throughout the weekend. with one carrier announcing its canceling everything between now and monday. one problem is the volcano still erupting and we don't know when it's going to stop. the other challenge is that we really don't know how much volcanic ash is safe. it could be some time before flights can resume. >> reporter: for this rock band, that means a long lonely weekend in a london hotel room. frightened rabbit is supposed to be launching their north american tour at the cajila music festival this weekend. it would have been their biggest
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u.s. gig yet. >> it's a really big deal over there. it's really good platform for bands like us. >> reporter: instead of rocking out in the california sunshine, they're trapped here. >> i think i would much rather be in the sunshine in los angeles playing a concert than in this travel lodge, as lovely as it is. >> reporter: and still into the night this obscure volcano in a faraway place continues to rumble and to affect people's lives in so many ways, big and small. a problem they never saw coming. i'm neal karlinsky for "nightline" near the eyjafjollajokull volcano in iceland. >> several heads of state will probably be forced to miss the funeral of poland's president on sunday. meanwhile, british comedian john glies took a 900 mile, $5,000
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cab ride from oslo to brussels in his attempt to get home to brooklyn. when we come back, the outrageous sarah sill varman as you've never seen her before. [ woman ] i'm taking an antidepressant, so how come i still feel depressed? [ male announcer ] approximately 2 out of 3 people being treated for depression still have unresolved symptoms. talk to your doctor. if an antidepressant alone isn't enough,
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thanks for your help. [ male announcer ] talk to your doctor in the world of comedy, sarah silverman is an original. her humor can be caster, her wit, biting. her jokes, unsensitive. with the tough messages delivers in a "girl next door" tomboy
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package, bill weir went in search of what makes sarah silverman so seriously funny. >> reporter: at some point, most "edgy" comedians deliberately choose to make a living with a potty mouth. for sarah silverman, that decision came right around potty training. >> i was 3 and my dad hilariously taught me how to swear. i yelled out bitch, bastard, damn, [ bleep ] >> reporter: her toddler shock humor brought peals of laughter. i'm going to read to you from your own book. the approval made her "dance uncontrollably like snoopy. the feeling of pride made my arms itch." >> to this day, that arms inch thing is like when i get a
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really big laugh. it's a joyful experience. >> reporter: she is a unique presence in hollywood -- an adorable-tomboy-next-door with a heart of gold and tongue of acid. ♪ do you ever take drugs so you can have sex without crying yeah yeah ♪ >> reporter: but the combination makes a lot more sense in the light of her new memoir, "the bedwetter: courage, redemption and pee." >> the constant humiliation made bombing on stage or the prospect of it like uh, yeah, no problem. >> reporter: do you think that led to your depression? >> bedwetting? >> reporter: yeah. >> no, i think that was a separate entity. >> reporter: an uncontrollable bladder was just one burden for silverman, she was also the clinically-depressed child of divorce. >> i was taking four xanax four times a day.
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i saved all the bottles in a shoebox because i remember thinking this can't be right and i want evidence. but this doctor saved me and took me off of it a half a pill less a week and i took my last half a xanax when i was 16. i was like happy-go-lucky me again. does anyone know what this is for? >> reporter: these days, work is her natural antidepressant. but what kind of work comes next is anyone's guess. the third season of her show on comedy central is wrapped and she probably won't be back for a fourth. but she always had stand-up. and she has decided to scrap all of her old, surefire material and create a new act from scratch. >> around christmastime the kids would all start blaming me for killing jesus. and i remember thinking, it's not like we killed baby jesus, you know what i mean, he had a
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good run. and by the way, you are welcome, because if we hadn't killed him he would not have become famous. >> reporter: if she's ever in need of inspiration, there are dad's constant voice mail messages. >> i never answer when he calls because it sometimes can be comedy gold. >> where are you? i know what you're doing. you're all texting each other. i love you. give me a call and let me know what's cooking! >> reporter: he also survived a painful past. before sarah was born, her parents took a vacation and left their infant son with his grandparents. >> my dad called his parents to see how jeffrey was and my mom just said she heard him say, what do you mean he's gone? and then he just collapsed. >> reporter: the child suffocated in a defective crib. years later, the tragedy taught a 5-year-old sarah the limits of comedy. >> my grandmother, my nana, came to pick us up.
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and she said, everybody put your seatbelt on. and i -- thinking i was going to kill, go, yeah, we don't want to wind up like jeffrey. it was just silence. so that was the first time i bombed. "i really need more rape jokes in my act." i'm never out to hurt someone. it's never about making light of rape or the holocaust or aids. it's me being an idiot about things that are serious. this is "mad men's" john hamm. from mad tv? >> mad tv. >> is here. >> you know "nightline's" not on the air anymore, right? >> is that true? >> reporter: even her cardioconsists of basketball with comedians. >> all right, let's start playing basketball. what did i say about letting me
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shine? >> reporter: after a long public romance with jimmy kimmel, she's now dating a writer from the hit show "family guy." >> his name is alec. he's awesome. super funny. super cute. >> reporter: could you ever date somebody not funny? >> i wish. needing someone very funny really narrows the field down to freaks, but i lucked out. >> reporter: you want to have kids? >> i love kids. i'm crazy about kids. i think i do, but i want to wait until it's all i want. with little girls, i have a great thing i do. when they're really little, like 3 or 4, i go -- i'm going to tell you something, but you can't tell anybody. and they say what. and i go "i'm a princess." but i dress normal because i want people to treat me normal. and it blows their freaking
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brains out. >> reporter: man, imagine what that kid will be like. dancing like snoopy and telling jokes until her arms itch. >> not a lot of money, but i have more than you so maybe we can work something out. well, i'm old are. and exceptionally talented. >> reporter: i'm bill weir for "nightline" in los angeles. >> the season finale of silverman's comedy central show aired last night but her sister has launched a save sarah campaign on twitter. when we come back, swimming with sharks. join us on a journey into the unknown. hey what's goin? doing the shipping. man, it would be a lot easier if we didn't have to weigh 'emonll. if those boxes are under 70 lbs. you don't have to weigh 'em. with these priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service, if it fits it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. no weigh? nope. no way. yeah. no weigh?
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we turn, next, to nature, and an underwater paradise where sharks dominate the sea scape and all forms of underwater life thrive. this pristine stretch of water is 300 miles off the cost of costa rica. it's off limit to fishing of any kind. but danger lurks just beyond the protected zone. we follow a research team on an und underwater expedition that takes them to places never before seen by human eyes in the quest to discover the secrets of shark island. >> reporter: it's the middle of the night. divers are on a research mission when suddenly haunting fins emerge from the shadow. sharks by the dozens chasing down their prey, violently
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writi rights on the ocean floor. it's the stuff of nightmares, unless you're enric sala. >> unfortunately, when you have a camera, the sharks are never close enough. you want them to be closer. and we can get really, really close to the animals to be able to study their behavior. these sharks are so afraid of humans that when they get really close and you throw your bubble, they swim away. >> reporter: sala and national geo graphic explorer spent the time surrounded by sharks, sea turtles and dolphins and strange-looking sea criticters like this fish, as curious about sala as he is about this pristine stretch of water. sala and his team traveled in september to costa rica's cocos island, known to some as "shark island" to see if a bold experiment in survival was actually working. more than 30 years ago, the waters were turned into a national park and declared off limits to any kind
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of fishing. his team wants to find out, has the sea life returned? are their numbers back to normal? could this special island become the model for conservation? >> we were studying the sharks, but we were also studying some deep-sea mounds where nobody had been before. >> reporter: it is much more than a mound. it is an underwater mountain range. so deep, the peaks top out at 500 feet below the water's surface. he compared it to landing on the dark side of the moon. here, they find a barrage of sea life. but they also find something disturbing. fishing lines. parks have been poached from these protected waters by fishermen, eager to ship them off to asia, where eating shark-fin soup is a symbol of wealth and prestige. >> the sharks are good in the water and not for soup. removing them just for eating the fins is kind of -- it doesn't make any sense.
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cruel. very cruel. and now it's become a sign of social status. most of the chinese weddings have to have shark-fin soup. >> reporter: that heavy demand explains what the crew found days later, more evidence of poachers, baited lines found in protected waters illegally hooking fish. like this 6-foot-long yellowfin tuna. it has been hooked for hour, battling to survive. by the time they were able to free the battered giant tuna, it was too late. then with this sea turtle, the team is in a race against time. >> the turtle fought really hard and the turtle doesn't know that you want to help her and still fights harder when you try to unhook her from the line. but, fortunately, we were able to rue release her. and that was the fastest turtle i've seen. it went down and disappeared
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into the safety of the water. >> reporter: in the past five years alone, more than 450 sharks, a thousand yellowfin tuna, and turtles and dolphins by the dozens have been found hooked to fishing lines in the park. >> it was really, really hard to see these huge animals, as big as we are, swimming majestically. they are like underwater torpedoes, they are so powerful and so beautiful and you know they're doing something good for the environment. and suddenly you see them hanging from a hook, fighting really hard to get released. it really breaks your heart. >> reporter: still, what enreek and all the other researches uncovered back at cocos is encouraging. turns out this pristine place now has one of the highest fish densities in this part of the world, massive amount of sea life, large and small, have returned. evidence of just how fast the ocean and its sea life can
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regenerate. and proof, enrique says, that protection like this is needed in waters around the globe. >> we are throwing in our garbage and sewage. we need to reverse that situation. what we're doing to the ocean right now is not sustainable. we need these large fish back in the ocean because that's what makes it healthy. and there is no healthy human community without a healthy ocean. >> reporter: i'm jeremy hubbard for "nightline." >> our thanks to jeremy hubbard. you can see the premiere of "shark island" this monday april 19 on the new network nat geo wild. we'll be right back. but first, here's jimmy with what's coming up next. >> tonight, bob pflugfelder and
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